Gearslutz

Gearslutz (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/)
-   Best Studio Gear (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/best-studio-gear/)
-   -   Ten of the best headphones over $300 (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/best-studio-gear/1165278-ten-best-headphones-over-300-a.html)

The Press Desk 18th July 2017 06:44 PM

Ten of the best headphones over $300
 
1 Attachment(s)
Ten of the best headphones over $300

Having established ten of the best headphones under $200 we decided that it's time to raise the stakes, and this time we asked our members what they think are the best offerings out there over (USD) $300 to find out the cream of the current crop. Here’s what they said - we have listed them alphabetically with no particular order of preference!

 K701

AKG K701

AKG has always been associated with great studio headphones, with decades of expertise on the subject and their creations are easily and frequently spotted in many studios worldwide, large and small. The classy-looking K701 is one of their premium offerings, combining all their past experience with new transducer design technology to make one of their finest sets of headphones ever, with highly-detailed frequency and transient response. They also feature AKG’s unmistakable headband, 3D-form ear pads and a lightweight frame (235g total weight) for great comfort - and great listening pleasure. The low impedance of 62 ohms should also aid ease of use since it won’t require a very powerful amp, working at satisfactory levels with most devices. These are definitely a great pick that will not only work wonders in the studio for critical listening but that will also deliver great sound quality for all occasions.



 LCD-4

Audeze LCD-4

Since 2008, Audeze has taken both the hi-fi and pro audio universes by storm with their astonishing headphones, using innovative materials that can be traced back to NASA research, where one of the company founders worked. The LCD-4 is the top-tier entry in the LCD series, using an open-back design to house the best incarnation of Audeze’s proprietary magnetic planar transducers for the most accurate sound reproduction, a frequency response of 5Hz - 50kHz and up to 130 dB of SPL, which means distortion is nearly impossible. Needless to say, the the LCD-4 needs a good quality amplifier as it’s a 200-ohm headphone, but if you’re looking for something of this calibre we’ll just assume that you've already got one to make the most out of this beautifully designed and well-built piece of gear with all the qualities to put an end to your hunt for the ultimate pair of headphones.





 DT 1990 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

Not just a mere update to one of their most successful headphones of all time, but a whole new product developed with the best Beyerdynamic has to offer. The impressive-looking DT 1990 PRO comes packed with an equally impressive set of features - most notably the new Tesla drivers and two sound settings provided by two different ear pads which can shift the sound from “analytical” (which is as flat as possible) to “balanced” (giving it a little bass boost) - but regardless of the ear pads in use the open-back design and superb dynamic transducers provide a very open sound that goes all the way from 5Hz to 40kHz. It also features a spring steel headband, a one-sided cable with mini XLR connector and it’s assembled in Germany with the utmost care. The DT 1990 PRO’s predecessor (the DT 990) is a frequent name on our “best headphones” threads, and we have every reason to believe that Beyerdynamic has surpassed that classic, so if you like the DT 990 you’ll more than likely love the DT 1990 PRO.





 RS1e

Grado Labs RS1e

Grado Labs is a very popular name in hi-fi circles but clever as audio professionals are they have also realised that these are excellent headphones that can serve well in studios and music production environments. The model “e” is the third version of RS-1, which is part of Grado’s 'Reference' series and since its introduction it has been one of the top products in the brand’s line-up. As with other Grado Labs headphones the RS-1 is a dynamic headphone with a cup made from handcrafted mahogany that houses a 50mm transducer on an open back design for an extremely balanced frequency response all across the spectrum. It also features a super light frame weighing only 255g and a very modest nominal impedance of 32 ohms, which makes the RS-1e extremely easy to drive and it will surely play nicely with any source - but with headphones of this calibre we’re sure that you’re not going to 'cheap out' on the amplifier!



 HD 650

Sennheiser HD 650

One of the most recommended headphones when it comes to critical listening applications is the Sennheiser HD 650, widely adapted by many of our users and one of the most popular choices amongst professionals worldwide. The HD 650 features a 40mm driver, open-back design, a wide frequency response from 10 to 41,000 Hz and it delivers audio up to 103 dB SPL. It’s also very lightweight at only 260g, providing great comfort with swivel cups, velour pads and a cushioned headband with adjustable height. The pads and cables are replaceable, so it’s an investment that’s sure to last a long time. The HD 650 is definitely a community favourite, but the slightly-cheaper HD 600 also gets many recommendations and there seems to be a consensus amongst our users that they’re very close and share a similar sound signature, so if money is a bit short you should definitely check out the 'little brother'. Both have excellent sound quality and a proven track record, so you’re well covered regardless of choice.



 HD 800 S

Sennheiser HD 800 S

If there’s one pair of headphones that rivals the HD 650 in terms of popularity in this community, it is the Sennheiser HD 800 and its latest incarnation, the model "S", is better than ever. With a futuristic look that’s quite distinctive the HD 800 S features an open-back design with one of the best sounding dynamic transducers Sennheiser has ever put in a production line model - and also one of the largest in size - with an extremely accurate sound with near-zero distortion, superb frequency and transient response. They’re hand-assembled in Germany with the best workmanship, boasting a metal headband with internal damping for minimal resonance, a frame that weighs only 330g, premium microfibre ear pads and a head cushion for extended periods of listening without any discomfort. If money is not a problem and supreme quality is all you care about then the HD 800 S should be near the top of your shopping list as this is probably one of the finest set of headphones money can buy.



 SR-Lambda SR-507

Stax SR-Lambda SR-507

The STAX SR-Lambda SR-507 might come across as 'exotic' and odd-looking but make no mistake - Stax belongs in the upper echelons when it comes to quality headphone manufacturers, and the work done by this Japanese manufacturer has received nothing but praise over decades of effort. The first SR-Lambda was developed in the early 1980s after a request from Mercedes-Benz, who needed a super accurate headphone to reproduce the sound of automobiles for their R&D needs. The SR-Lambda features an electrostatic transducer, open-back design, a balanced frequency response covering the entire sonic spectrum with great balance and zero distortion. These are very unique headphones with a 5-pin connector that needs a proper amp (and it’s recommended that you pair them with the ones made by Stax themselves). The current incarnation of the Lambda keeps all the principles but also improves upon the original design to deliver an impeccable sounding headphone that reaches from 7Hz to 41kHz with the utmost transparency. They’re not insanely common because of a number of factors, including uniqueness and price, but make sure to add them to your wishlist.



 PRO 900i

Ultrasone Headphones PRO 900i

Because they start with 'U', the headphone specialists at Ultrasone provide the final entry on our list, and as expected they have delivered another fine piece of personal monitoring with the PRO 900i. This closed-back headphone features all the technological breakthroughs of the brand’s flagship 'Edition' range for accuracy and efficiency, with a loud and clear sound from 6Hz to 42kHz from basically any amplifier thanks to a very low impedance of 40 ohms, delivering sonic quality while also providing good isolation from ambient noise. They also feature velvet ear pads for exceptional comfort and the foldable swivel-cups makes them easy to carry around, so you can have their trustworthy sound anywhere you go. An excellent choice for the discerning professional looking a reliable set of headphones to tackle all studio applications.


That’s the list! There are many other great headphones out there and our members will rightfully point to many other superb options, but we had to narrow it down to ten - however, honourable mentions go to the AKG K1000, Audio-Technica ATH-M70x, Shure SRH1840 and Sony MDR-7520.

Are you a happy owner of any of these headphones? Do you use more than one set for different applications/genres? Are you planning to buy a new set anytime soon? Considering something from our list? Please speak up, and if you have the time also share with us some thoughts on how to make the most out of them. We'd love to hear your tips on amps, 'combo units' with digital-to-analog converters and audio interfaces with great sounding analog outputs to drive these fabulous headphones.

For more on headphones please visit:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-m...o-little-time/

DistortingJack 8th October 2017 10:28 PM

Having listened to about half of these, I think the new Audio Technica ATH-R70x is better than all of them, with the exception of the HD800. I would love to try the Audeze and Stax ones, though.

spaceman 9th October 2017 02:37 PM

The Oppo PM-3 should really be in that list.

RandomNobody 12th October 2017 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DistortingJack (Post 12893526)
Having listened to about half of these, I think the new Audio Technica ATH-R70x is better than all of them, with the exception of the HD800. I would love to try the Audeze and Stax ones, though.

I so agree.

My girlfriend bought these on my recommendation because of looks.
I am so envious.
They are so light, so open, encloses completely, sits without tension, super-comfortable, and to my ears, pretty flat and honest.
A many hours in the studio headphone.
OK, now I am gonna buy myself a pair, why did I give up on the Thomann B-stock a couple of weeks ago.

PdotDdot 14th October 2017 03:54 PM

I own AKG 701, Sennheiser HD 600, ATH R70X, ATH M50X and Focal Spirit Pro's. They all sound great. The Focal's have a design flaw and will break and for that reason I do not recommend them. They are also uncomfortable. My two favorites are the HD 600's and the ATH R70X. They are different enough to me it is sort of a tie. I look what each has to offer for different reasons and I enjoy listening on each.

I do not mix with headphones although I do check mixes from time to time.

JEL 14th October 2017 07:23 PM

Has anybody tried AKG's K872 headphones?
(Or the new K275 perhaps)

If yes; what's your opinion on those?

I'm about to replace my worn out AKG K271mk2 (The inner ear-pads have disintegrated and are simply falling apart into little pieces of fabric!) and wonder if the K872 is a sane choice or if the new K275 is perhaps more sensible (There's a huge price-difference between those 2, but is there also a huge sound-difference I wonder)

I'm interested in how they sound, obviously, but also about their design in terms of possible durability (I love the K271's sound, but am a bit disappointed in the way the inner ear-pads are basically dissolving and crumbling when they're not even 10 years old (That said, my ears do physically touch the ear-pads because the cavity is not deep enough, so ear-sweat have of course deposited over the years of heavy use))

DannyMac 15th October 2017 12:30 AM

I LOVE the AKG 701, but always end up with a far too scooped sound when mixing on them - too much bass and too much top, maybe because it just sounds nice.

The HD 650 and 600 are still my firm favourites 6 years later - got 3 pairs of each.

HD600 with the HD650 cable is better than the standard one - shouldnt be but love it.

HD 650 with foam removed from inside of ear cups, steel cages removed from outside of earcups and then the foam dampening pad removed from the back of the driver truly open these things up no end.
after mod, dynamics are closer to the 600s (better) but with way more power and clean soundstage.

best money spent - in regards to HP

earlevel 22nd October 2017 07:54 PM

My main constraint was isolation—I use headphones for my vocal takes, usual close-miked with a condenser. That means closed back, and I wanted circumaural as well. That would have eliminated most of these choices. Without the luxury of being able to audition headphones, it helped that reviews of the Sony 7520 gave relative comparisons to the 7506, which I was very familiar with. Nice to see the 7520 was an honorable mention here, I've been very happy with the headphones since they arrived (over three years ago), all around, and they've been a good choice for vocal tracking.

PerGunnar 22nd October 2017 08:05 PM

Sennheiser HD-25 kfhkh

Sniperschool 22nd October 2017 09:18 PM

Long time Grado RS1 owner/user here (I currently have 3 sets)
Reading this list makes me really want to try out some of the alternative kfhkh

Fast_Fingers 23rd October 2017 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JEL (Post 12904609)
Has anybody tried AKG's K872 headphones?
(Or the new K275 perhaps)

If yes; what's your opinion on those?

I'm about to replace my worn out AKG K271mk2 (The inner ear-pads have disintegrated and are simply falling apart into little pieces of fabric!) and wonder if the K872 is a sane choice or if the new K275 is perhaps more sensible (There's a huge price-difference between those 2, but is there also a huge sound-difference I wonder)

I'm interested in how they sound, obviously, but also about their design in terms of possible durability (I love the K271's sound, but am a bit disappointed in the way the inner ear-pads are basically dissolving and crumbling when they're not even 10 years old (That said, my ears do physically touch the ear-pads because the cavity is not deep enough, so ear-sweat have of course deposited over the years of heavy use))

Why not get new earpads so the K271s can at least serve as a good tracking headphone? (It's a great idea that they mute when taken off)

Open gives you more options. K702 is $190 used on Amazon, $226 street. It's my daily after I replaced the cord with a more durable braided one. With a cat who likes soft rubbery cables, I can't possibly get a headphone without replaceable cables.
K712 PRO seems to be the 702 with bass boost, not worth it IMHO (and looks tacky with orange and black). K812 can be found at $800.

kuasalogam 23rd October 2017 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spaceman (Post 12894541)
The Oppo PM-3 should really be in that list.

Hey, I'm interested to that cans. Do you have experience with that? Did you compare it to other headphones?

H.Prince 24th October 2017 01:31 AM

10 accurate headphones over $300, my opinion:

- Stax SR-007A but with the port mod and a Kevin Gilmore amp.
- LFF Paradox (the "Paradox" only, not the Slant version)
- LFF Code-X (good luck finding one!)
- HD650 with KISS mod.
- Audio Zenith PMX2
- HD800 with SDR mod and EQ.
- Stax SR-207 (much more neutral than SR-507, which is an ear drill)
- Audeze LCD-2 Rev 2.2 (the pre-fazors, thanks to awful QC, good luck finding a "good one"!)
- MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open
- Fostex TH-X00 Ebony (with ZMF Ori pads)

This is 2017, no need for Ultrasone/AKG/Beyer/Grado treble spikes of death ;)
PS: Yes, I don't like treble spikes or Audeze silent revisions hahaha

JSt0rm 24th October 2017 04:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H.Prince (Post 12920717)
10 accurate headphones over $300, my opinion:

- Stax SR-007A but with the port mod and a Kevin Gilmore amp.
- LFF Paradox (the "Paradox" only, not the Slant version)
- LFF Code-X (good luck finding one!)
- HD650 with KISS mod.
- Audio Zenith PMX2
- HD800 with SDR mod and EQ.
- Stax SR-207 (much more neutral than SR-507, which is an ear drill)
- Audeze LCD-2 Rev 2.2 (the pre-fazors, thanks to awful QC, good luck finding a "good one"!)
- MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open
- Fostex TH-X00 Ebony (with ZMF Ori pads)

This is 2017, no need for Ultrasone/AKG/Beyer/Grado treble <deleted by mod> ;)
PS: Yes, I don't like treble spikes or Audeze silent revisions hahaha

So funny how different everyones hearing is :) I thought the sr-507 were the best of the stax range ;)

JSt0rm 24th October 2017 04:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DistortingJack (Post 12893526)
Having listened to about half of these, I think the new Audio Technica ATH-R70x is better than all of them, with the exception of the HD800. I would love to try the Audeze and Stax ones, though.

Audeze and stax sound the best :) I would say the audeze are too heavy for long term use.

I had to work in close back headphones for like a year and you soon realize the only thing that matters is comfort when wearing headphones 10 hours a day. And comfort means light. And light means electrostatic.

JEL 24th October 2017 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fast_Fingers (Post 12919343)
Why not get new earpads so the K271s can at least serve as a good tracking headphone? (It's a great idea that they mute when taken off)

Open gives you more options. K702 is $190 used on Amazon, $226 street. It's my daily after I replaced the cord with a more durable braided one. With a cat who likes soft rubbery cables, I can't possibly get a headphone without replaceable cables.
K712 PRO seems to be the 702 with bass boost, not worth it IMHO (and looks tacky with orange and black). K812 can be found at $800.


Well, I actually pulled the crumbled pads out all together, so now there's just the hard plastic :)
It doesn't seem to impact the sound much, so I can live with that until I get new ones.

I want new ones because the cavity is too small. Even with the pads I always got pain in my ears after a few hours use, and I'm kinda fed up with that. And I guess after almost 10 years service I can justify buying a new pair of headphones. They still do play fine though, but I really want some with enough space for my (Apparently) large ears.

You're right, the auto cut-off is a great feature. I really like that too :)
That feature is one I will miss dearly if it isn't on the new set I end up getting.

Open is not possible here (Too much ambient noise)

Haha, cats will be cats :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by JSt0rm (Post 12920880)
I had to work in close back headphones for like a year and you soon realize the only thing that matters is comfort when wearing headphones 10 hours a day.

Amen!
Without comfort they can sound like heaven and it still won't work :)

H.Prince 24th October 2017 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSt0rm (Post 12920874)
So funny how different everyones hearing is :) I thought the sr-507 were the best of the stax range ;)

That's the funny thing about audio, how different we hear...SR-507 is a very polarizing headphone, a torture device for some and very accurate for others...audio is a rewarding and very interesting hobby :)

H.Prince 24th October 2017 12:08 PM

Oh, on a different note, AKG is no longer in business, they got "Harmonized" (or "Samsungized" if you prefer)
Ex-AKG employees formed "Austrian Audio" some days ago.

Diogo C 24th October 2017 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H.Prince (Post 12921326)
Oh, on a different note, AKG is no longer in business, they got "Harmonized" (or "Samsungized" if you prefer)
Ex-AKG employees formed "Austrian Audio" some days ago.

Indeed, there's that. Do you know if the headphone guys also migrated to Austrian Audio or was it only the mic design team?

H.Prince 24th October 2017 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diogo_c (Post 12921362)
Indeed, there's that. Do you know if the headphone guys also migrated to Austrian Audio or was it only the mic design team?


http://www.psneurope.com/akg-vienna-austrian-audio/

http://www.psneurope.com/austrian-au...ive-interview/

They have "acoustics, mechanical design, electronics, software, measurement and testing" engineers, so they can design both, headphones and microphones.
EDIT: Second link, from the question "What are the company’s goals in the market? ":

"In order to move technology and the art of microphone and headphone development forward..."

Diogo C 24th October 2017 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H.Prince (Post 12921411)
http://www.psneurope.com/akg-vienna-austrian-audio/

http://www.psneurope.com/austrian-au...ive-interview/

They have "acoustics, mechanical design, electronics, software, measurement and testing" engineers, so they can design both, headphones and microphones.
EDIT: Second link, from the question "What are the company’s goals in the market? ":

"In order to move technology and the art of microphone and headphone development forward..."

Thanks! Hope they come out with great products!

JEL 25th October 2017 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H.Prince (Post 12921326)
Oh, on a different note, AKG is no longer in business, they got "Harmonized" (or "Samsungized" if you prefer)
Ex-AKG employees formed "Austrian Audio" some days ago.

Ooh, I noticed the name-change, but didn't put anything into it... until you mention Samsung :( Should that be a worry? (Not a fan of Samsung here, as I find their products are often only 'half-baked', so to speak. Don't want to throw my money at something that might be more hype than quality)

Diogo C 25th October 2017 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JEL (Post 12922923)
Ooh, I noticed the name-change, but didn't put anything into it... until you mention Samsung :( Should that be a worry? (Not a fan of Samsung here, as I find their products are often only 'half-baked', so to speak. Don't want to throw my money at something that might be more hype than quality)

Samsung bought Harman, which was AKG's owner.

JEL 25th October 2017 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diogo_c (Post 12923293)
Samsung bought Harman, which was AKG's owner.

So all 3 names still exist, but really it's Samsung that runs the entire show now?

And I just wanted some good closed-back headphones with enough room for my ears inside them :lol:

Diogo C 25th October 2017 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JEL (Post 12923419)
So all 3 names still exist, but really it's Samsung that runs the entire show now?

And I just wanted some good closed-back headphones with enough room for my ears inside them :lol:

At the moment yes, all three still exists. Not sure how the structure works, who calls the shots and so forth, but ultimately it's all owned by the Korean shipbuilders.

TheBrightSide 26th October 2017 02:36 AM

Not on the list, but the best headphones I've tried are the Hifiman HE-1000's. Prefectly balanced, would be great for mixing.
Currently use the HD800's (which I really like) and a few others, but the HE-1000's are outstanding.

Fast_Fingers 26th October 2017 04:11 AM

<deleted by mod>

Though I never understood the AKG K702 as having too high trebles; it's fairly flat and not as strong bass-wise.

<deleted by mod>

DistortingJack 26th October 2017 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fast_Fingers (Post 12924528)
Eardrum spikers? Though I never understood the AKG K702 as having too high trebles; it's fairly flat and not as strong bass-wise.

Yeah, no, the K702 (and K701s which have the same drivers) are notorious for having a spiky top end. The fact they are also lacking bass adds insult to perjury, but even if they did that wouldn't help the upper midrange and lower treble.

Noisewagon 27th October 2017 02:50 AM

Ahhh the Sony MDR-7506 sure sounds good...

ohmicide 27th October 2017 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSt0rm (Post 12920880)
Audeze and stax sound the best :) I would say the audeze are too heavy for long term use.

Am I the only one that doesn't mind the weight of the Audeze? I use LCD-X which are probably the heaviest Audeze and I have no problem with them even with chronic neck pain and TMJD